In July, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources announced the creation of the Rockcastle River Wildlife Management Area, which comprises more than 2,900 acres in eastern Pulaski County. According to the Commonwealth Journal, the parcel — known by many as the Ikerd Coal property — was purchased for $6.3 million from the Ikerd family using funds levied from a tax on firearms and ammunition sales.
The property is expected to open to the public soon.
In August, the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation finalized the purchase of a former industrial park in Bell County, Ky. According to the Associated Press, the 500-acre property was purchased from the Pine Mountain Regional Industrial Development Authority for $700,000.
The property is surrounded by an additional 1,200 acres leased by the foundation, according to the Harlan Daily Enterprise. Together the properties will house the Appalachian Wildlife Center, which is expected to open in 2019 and will provide a wildlife refuge, a museum of natural and regional history and an astronomy pavilion.
— Elizabeth E. Payne